Aug 05, 2022
Going through the menopause in our 40s left us without a job and a crumbled marriage, doctors even dismissed symptoms
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HAVING worked in retail for 20 years, Donna O’Brien was a confident store manager – but she believes crippling brain fog brought on by the menopause led to her being sacked.
Donna, 49, says: “I was humiliated because no one understood why I couldn’t deliver due to my brain fog.4Donna O'Brien says a menopause leave policy would have saved her careerCredit: David Cummings
“It was demoralising, and I just generally felt like I had no ability to be able to manage any more, and I didn’t know why.
“You don’t know when you are going to go into the menopause and because it is such a gradual thing you wake up and go, ‘What has happened to me?’.”
And 900,000 women have left work because of the menopause.READ MORE ON MENOPAUSEYOU GLOW GIRL I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw my new reflection on 10 Years Younger
MPs on the Women and Equalities Committee Last week called for new laws to protect the careers of women going through menopause.
One suggestion is to make the menopause a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, like with pregnancy or maternity.
And the committee is also urging ministers to pilot “menopause leave” to stop women being forced out of the workplace.
Our Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign also calls for every workplace to have a menopause policy.Most read in LifestyleBREAST IDEA? My 34K boobs are so big they knock things over & cost me a fortune in brasWHAT THE QUACK I got 0.5mm of lip filler but regret it so much, I look like a duckBUZZ OFF I was tired of flies coming into my house, but I discovered a hack to repel themREAL DEAL I'm an Aldi fan - I buy weekly groceries for under $26 by sticking to 13 items
Mum-of-three Donna, of Sudbury, Suffolk, says this could have saved the career she loved.
She says: “A menopause leave policy would be a lifeline. When I was 40, I was a branch manager running a successful store.
“But after having a hysterectomy in 2013 the hormonal changes from the menopause kicked in.
“I lost all confidence, as I had constant brain fog and couldn’t seem to focus any more.
“As a manager I was used to being organised, and processing things in a priority order. But it would take me so much longer to make a decision, and I didn’t know why.
“I had already taken time off sick following the hysterectomy but then I ended up quitting because my confidence had crashed.
“Luckily my husband at the time was able to support both of us while I wasn’t working — and I later went back to being a part-time retail assistant.
“Two years later, I had another go at being a manager, at a different retail company, but I only lasted three months because I was sacked.
“They said I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing, and they told me I couldn’t man-age people.
“I was humiliated, upset, demoralised, and I just generally felt like I had no ability to be able to manage any more.”Menopause facts
- 900,000 women have left work due to menopause
- 19.9% of women in their 50s are earning less than men of same age
- 157,000 women over 50 are claiming unemployment benefits
Sadly, as Donna’s career was going down-hill, so was her marriage.
She says: “After losing my career, I also lost my marriage, which could have possibly been saved had I realised I was in the middle of my menopause.
“I got divorced in 2018. Now, I believe how I was feeling and the changes I was going through were contributing factors to our split.
“We went to counselling for a year, but I decided to leave it.”
Initially, Donna had no idea that her brain fog was connected to the change.
She says: “I was 44 when I realised my hormones could be the culprit of losing everything — and I was put on HRT.
“My early menopause was brought on by a hysterectomy that I had in December 2013.”
Donna, who now works as an installations co-ordinator for a double-glazing company, adds: “From then on, I could fully function. I now work in a different area in retail, and there are women who are the same age as me, so we can talk about it.
“If I could have had paid leave when I first started with symptoms, I very much doubt I would be where I am now.
“It is extremely difficult to get back into a management position now, as questions are always raised about why I left.
“I think companies are certainly losing talent due to the menopause.
“It’s crazy how women are expected to continue as normal whilst going through the most challenging experience of their life.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are, it is still the menopause — at the age of 48, I feel robbed.”
The Women and Equalities Committee pointed out in their report that menopause symptoms — which can include difficulty sleeping, anxiety and memory problems — sometimes have a “debilitating impact” on women.
This is something mum-of-two Kas Meghani, 54, can relate to.
She left her job in the City four years ago due to the humiliation of hot sweats and surges of anxiety.4Kas says she first thought her menopause symptoms were fluCredit: David Cummings
Kas, who lives with husband Dee, 54, a builder, in Ilford, Essex, says: “I was contracted to work with the big boys in the City for over 20 years as an IT consultant.
“I remember getting my first menopause symptom just before my 40th birthday.
"It was a hot flush whilst on the Tube, on a freezing winter’s day. I just thought it was the flu.
“Looking back, I realise that was the start of it.
“I would end up sitting in meetings at work and I would have to walk out because I was soaking wet, like I had just got out of the shower.
“I was the only female IT worker on the trading floor among male traders and I would get jibes from the men saying, ‘Oh, is it the menopause of something’.
“I would dread going into work. The sweats were embarrassing and I was just expected to get on with it.
'MOODS ALL OVER THE PLACE'
“Coming from an Indian background, menopause is not openly discussed, a bit like periods — so you cannot speak to your seniors about it.”
Kas did seek help but felt that her symptoms were dismissed.
She says: “I went to the doctor’s but was told I was too young for the menopause.
“At the time I had a coil in, and had a phase of having my period for six months straight.
“Eventually they discovered that my body was trying to flush it away, which is a sign of the menopause.
“Throughout all of this, I was working, which was awkward. I would be running to the toilet every minute. Then things like anxiety would start to kick in.
“And that’s why I left. I couldn’t deal with constantly having to fight the men.
“I was once quite fiery, I would take on any challenge that you would throw at me.
“But I thought, ‘Why is it always easy for you but hard for me? And why do I have to work twice as hard to prove myself?’
“As I was coming towards 50, I thought that was enough for me.
"Something had to give.” Kas now works in hospitality.
She says: “I still live with the menopause and work but it is on my own terms.
“Even if I was given menopause leave, I still would’ve preferred to leave.
“I feel like men in the City, and their mentality, will never change.
“I got to the point where I realised life is too short and felt, ‘Why am I torturing myself like this?’.”
Debs Wallbank, 48, blames the menopause for her losing her senior corporate job after 25 years in the oil and gas industry — and for ending her marriage of four years.
She says: “I was 39 when I first started getting symptoms. My life was already in a turmoil because I have suffered from depression for many years on and off, and I figured it was another wave of depression coming.4Debs says her menopause led fights with her husband and a divorceCredit: David Cummings
“My moods were all over the place, which meant I was constantly fighting with my husband.
"It never entered my head that it could be menopause — and we ended up getting a divorce when I was 42.
“Throughout this time, I also lost my two jobs in office admin, and a senior manager role, because I couldn’t function.
“I felt the simple tasks were really making my brain work hard, when normally I could’ve done things with my eyes closed.
“I couldn’t understand why I was being so crap at my job. I just kept putting it down to the situation at home, and being ill with my mental health.
"My symptoms included hot flushes, fatigue and mood swings. And I didn’t fight it, I gave in.
“It was awful, because I had a good career of 25 years.
“I hated losing my job, I felt embarrassed, a failure and useless. I was forced to go on benefits, as I literally had no option, and there was no way I could go on and get a regular job. I just couldn’t face it.”
Debs eventually had blood tests, which showed her hormone levels had changed.
She says: “The results were crystal clear, that I was menopausal. I ended up getting put on HRT patches.
“It all made sense, but at this time I had no job, no car, no house, I had nothing — I was living with my mum and on benefits, life was pretty s**t.
“I was depressed in 2019 and Christmas Day was the lowest point of my life — at 45, I had nothing. But not long after my birthday in February, I told myself to get a grip.”Read More on The SunHEAVEN OR HELL? I asked for a cute angel wings tattoo but was horrified by what I gotFAT SHAMED Docs said my huge legs were 'just fat' but a stranger spotted worrying symptoms
Debs has since become a confidence coach, helping other women going through the menopause.
She says: “I absolutely love working for myself, I can’t imagine anything else now. It gives me complete control over my life.”4Our Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign calls for every workplace to have a menopause policy.Credit:
News Source: the-sun.com
Tags: fab daily health menopause the sun newspaper women s health and i didn’t know i didn’t know why didn’t know why i didn’t know and i didn’t and i didn’t didn’t know i couldn’t when i first started women going through menopause symptoms the menopause i was humiliated ended up getting to the menopause a hysterectomy david cummings symptoms were i had nothing because brought her menopause her marriage from the men all over on benefits in the city menopause at the time expected a different
Kevin Federline Needs to Keep Britney Spears’ Name Out of His Mouth and Get a Real Job
Last November, Britney Spears scored a landmark victory when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny opted to end her conservatorship. After years of work from Spears herself, demonstrations from her most devout fans, a harrowing documentary from The New York Times, and, ultimately, the singer’s heart-shattering testimony in court, it appeared Spears had finally won her freedom.
When Spears stepped out of her conservatorship, the public and the media responded with an avalanche of mea culpas. Documentary after documentary had exposed how relentless professional pressure, combined with a tabloid culture devoid of empathy, had gradually but systematically broken the singer’s spirit. Viewers saw Spears’ public 2008 breakdown in a new light—not as a personal failing to be cruelly ridiculed, as it was at the time, but as a cry for help from a human being who, for most of her life, had been exploited for our entertainment.
Less than a year later, however, that old, familiar cruelty has already crept its way back into the Spears discourse. Consider, for instance, the conversation that’s unfolded in the wake of her ex-husband Kevin Federline’s recent insidious “reveals” about her.
On Monday, ITV began teasing its three-part interview with the former Mr. Spears. Federline said he believes the conservatorship “saved” his ex-wife—this in spite of Spears’ own allegations that she’d been forced into years of “therapy” with practitioners she never chose (which is not therapy at all); that her medications were forcibly changed as “punishment” for canceling her Las Vegas Domination residency; and that her conservators would not allow her to remove her IUD so that she could have a child. (That last claim constitutes reproductive coercion, according to Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Alexis McGill Johnson.)
Nevertheless, Federline persisted: “Jamie Spears came to me and was like, pretty much, I don’t know what to do, I want to help,” he told ITV. “I saw a man that really cared and really cares about his family and wanting everything to be OK.” (Never mind that Jamie Spears allegedly lived off his daughter’s wealth for years even before her conservatorship, which further siphoned her finances to pay for not only her own attorneys but his as well.)
More insidious, however, was Federline’s decision to discuss Spears’ relationship with their two sons, Sean and Jayden, both of whom are still teenagers in high school. Federline implied that Spears’ Instagram posts—in which she occasionally poses nude, censored with emojis—embarrassed their sons.
“I apologize for them, to them, for them because I can’t imagine how it feels to be a teenager, having to go to high school,” Federline said. “Who knows how many people ask them about it or talk to them about it? ... I try to explain to them look, maybe [it’s] just another way she tries to express herself but it doesn’t take away from the fact that what it does to them, it’s tough.”
Spears’ husband, Sam Asghari, responded to Federline’s comments with a statement in which he pointed out, “Even if there was truth to her kids being ashamed of their mother’s choices and positive body image they wouldn’t be the first teenagers embarrassed of their parents.”“Even if there was truth to her kids being ashamed of their mother’s choices and positive body image they wouldn’t be the first teenagers embarrassed of their parents.”— Sam Asghari
Then came the most explosive comments: Federline mentioned that Sean and Jayden are “not seeing [Spears] right now” and haven’t for “months” since they’d skipped her wedding this summer. “There’s a lot of things that were going on that they just didn’t feel comfortable with,” he said. “They made sure that I knew what was going on...they started sending me videos and certain things that they were like, look, I’m telling you that this is happening.”
What, exactly, “this” is remains unclear.
In a now-expired statement posted on her Instagram Story, Spears wrote, “It saddens me to hear that my ex-husband has decided to discuss the relationship between me and my children... As we all know, raising teenage boys is never easy for anyone. It concerns me the reason is based on my Instagram. It was LONG before Instagram. I gave them everything... Only one word: HURTFUL.” In a subsequent post, Spears called her sons “hateful” and claimed they never wanted to spend time with her during their visits.
That was all it took for Federline to double down. “I can not sit back and let my sons be accused in this way after what they’ve been through,” Federline said. (Apparently he forgot that it was his own interview about their kids that prompted Spears’ comments.) “The lies have to stop,” Federline said. “I hope our kids grow up to be better than this.”
And so, Federline shared a handful of supposedly disturbing videos on Instagram.“It saddens me to hear that my ex-husband has decided to discuss the relationship between me and my children... As we all know, raising teenage boys is never easy for anyone.”— Britney Spears
The videos don’t exactly project The Waltons energy, but they’re far from damning. In perhaps the most striking scene, one of the singer’s sons seems to complain that she’s confiscated his phone indefinitely for walking into an Alaskan ice cream shop. The moment immediately reminded me of the time just before Spears’ breakdown when an entire tabloid saga ignited around photos of her walking into a public restroom barefoot. The anecdote played into the media’s already insistent narrative that Spears, who had once been our favorite rags-to-riches story, was now irredeemable “white trash.”
Federline has removed the videos. Spears’ attorney, Mathew Rosengart, issued a statement on his client’s behalf.
“Britney has faithfully supported her children and she loves them dearly,” the statement reads, in part. “Whether he realizes it or not, Mr. Federline has not only violated the privacy and dignity of the mother of his children, he has undermined his own children, whose privacy he should protect.”
Rosengart added: “Putting aside his ITV interview, Mr. Federline’s ill-advised decision to post an old video of his 11 and 12 year old children was cruel, bottom of the barrel stuff. It was abhorrent. In addition to demeaning himself and violating societal norms, he has now also created various legal issues for himself including, but not limited to, implicating cyberharassment and cyberbullying statutes, among other things.”
What’s really striking, however, is how easily Federline threw us all back to 2009—when mommy-policing Spears was one of entertainment media’s chief preoccupations.